Remembering 9/11/01

United Airlines Flight 175 flies low toward the South Tower of the World Trade Center, shortly before slamming into the structure. The north tower burns after an earlier attack by a hijacked airliner in New York City, on September 11, 2001. (Reuters/Sean Adair)

United Airlines Flight 175 flies low toward the South Tower of the World Trade Center, shortly before slamming into the structure. The north tower burns after an earlier attack by a hijacked airliner in New York City, on September 11, 2001. (Reuters/Sean Adair)

It was the perfect fall morning. The air was crisp. The sky was that brilliant shade of early autumn blue. It was a beautiful September day.

With the exception of the very young, most Americans remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Just as many of us, of a certain age, remember the news “President Kennedy has been shot.”

I was at work, reviewing the headlines before getting down to business. I never really did that day. A friend posted “a plane has hit the World Trade Center.” Initially, we all assumed it was a small plane. After all, not two far in the distant past, a small plane had crashed into the White House.

Within minutes we knew that it was no small plane and no accident.

We rallied as Americans. We stood in line to give blood. We prayed. We waved flags. We sang. We were one.

For a time anyway.

Twelve years later our country is more divided and we have a President who has been advocating arming the allies of the very people who attacked us. Fortunately, for now at least, he’s bumbled that into a stall.

Twelve years later we’re less free as the government reads our emails, taps our phones and hires people to feel us up at the airport.

Twelve years later the people we distrust and fear the most is not some nameless group of nomads living in caves in Afghanistan but our own government.

Today there will be commemorations and ceremonies and prayers. Thousands of articles and blog posts will recount the day and speak of the American resolve.

But these days, that resolve is hard to find.

While the flag is flying proudly from our front porch today,admittedly, I don’t feel the same sense of panic, or pride, or resolve as I did twelve years ago. And I don’t want us to be attacked again to regain some of those feelings and the intensity of that resolve.

September 11, 2001 woke us up. But we’ve gone back to sleep.

We’ve gone from “Let’s roll” to “Let’s roll over.”



2011: 10 Years Later. Has My Life Changed?
2011: We Remember
2012: 365 Things I Believe: Forever Changed
2012: We Remember

1 comment

    • Jeanne Erzinger on September 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I was getting ready to take my Aunt Madeline, who had been visiting from Ashland, VA for a week, to the airport. She was stuck with us another 4 days until the planes started flying again. And I was trying to call my daughter Claire to wish her Happy Birthday. When I couldn’t contact her, I was just a little panicked until she finally called. She had been in the library when the first plane hit. She headed home when she heard the news and came up out of the subway in time to see the first tower fall. She and her friends watched in horror from a rooftop as the second one fell. (She lives just across the river from Manhattan in Long Island City.) Today she is celebrating her birthday by going to the beach.

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